As a leading publisher of high-quality scholarly journals, the Arab Journal of Sciences and Research Publishing (AJSRP) Foundation is committed to maintaining the highest standards of publication ethics and to supporting ethical research practices. AJSRP is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and adheres to the COPE Code of Conduct for Journal Publishers. We encourage journal editors to follow the COPE Code of Conduct for Journal Editors and to refer reviewers to the COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers as appropriate. Allegations of misconduct will be investigated in accordance with the COPE Best Practice Guidelines as far as is practicable. If notified of a potential breach of publication ethics, we encourage journal editors and staff to inform their AJSRP contact as soon as possible. AJSRP staff are trained on how to proceed with investigations into allegations of ethical misconduct and will seek legal counsel when necessary.
We take publication ethics very seriously. Many of the journals we publish have individual ethical policies, and we encourage authors to check the relevant journal website for details prior to submission. AJSRP supports its journal editorial teams and authors providing best practice guidelines in the following key areas:
- Article submission
- Conflict of interest
- Fair editing and peer review
- Promoting ethical research
- Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement (PEMS)
AJSRP expects all published articles to contain clear and accurate attribution of authorship. It is the responsibility of the author to ensure that all authors that contributed to the work are fairly acknowledged and that the published author list accurately reflects individual contributions. Where authorship disputes arise, AJSRP encourages journal editorial teams to follow the COPE guidelines. Where authors employ the services of third-party agencies prior to submission, for instance in language editing or manuscript formatting/preparation, they must ensure that all services comply with the following guidelines.
Attribution and acknowledgement
AJSRP supports the ICMJE definitions of authorship. Some journals publish their own definitions of authorship – check the journal submission guidelines or editorial policy for details. Definitions of what constitutes authorship vary by journal, research area, or article type but typically authorship is confined to those who have made a significant contribution to the design and execution of the work described. Many journals now take the extra step of emailing named authors at the point of submission (usually via the journal submission system) to confirm participation. Some journals may require a short description of each authors’ contribution to be included with the submitted files or as part of the acknowledgements section of an article.
Changes in authorship
Requests for changes to authorship must be directed to the journal editor or administrator – check individual journal websites for contact details. Requests should be dealt with fairly and in accordance with the relevant COPE guidelines (detailed below) and/or the published policy of the individual journal. Changes in authorship will only be permitted where valid reasons are provided and all authors are in agreement with the change. Post-publication changes to authorship will typically be made via a published correction.
- Request for addition of extra author before publication
- Request removal of author before publication
- Request for addition of extra author post publication
- Request for removal of author post-publication
‘Ghost,’ ‘guest,’ or ‘gift’ authorship
AJSRP considers all forms of ghost, guest, and gift authorship to be unethical and works closely with editors and publishing partners to take a firm stance against such practices. Any allegation of ghost, guest, or gift authorship will be investigated in accordance with the COPE guidelines. Where such practices are identified the authors in question will be removed from an article through a post-publication correction or erratum. In addition, the journal may choose to notify the institutional or local ethics committee for the authors in question.
‘Ghost’ authorship refers to the practice of using a non-named author to write or prepare an article for publication. Ghost authors are typically (but not exclusively) paid sponsors, employees, junior researchers, or external academic affiliates.
‘Guest’ or ‘gift’ authorship refers to the practice of naming an individual that made little or no contribution to a study as an author on an article. Gift authors are typically (but not exclusively) senior researchers, affiliated researchers, friends, or colleagues of the principle author. There are also organizations that offer gift authorship for a fee.
AJSRP takes every effort to ensure that editors, peer reviewers, and journal administrators treat all submissions respectfully, in confidence, and in accordance with COPE ethical guidelines. AJSRP expects that all individuals submitting manuscripts to AJSRP-published journals abide by established publishing standards and ethics. In proven cases of misconduct, the action taken will vary by journal and by context, but could result in one or more of the following:
Retraction of published work.
- Publication of a correction or statement of concern.
- Refusal of future submission.
- Notification of misconduct sent to an author’s local institution, superior, and/or ethics committee.
Redundant publication (dual submission or publication)
AJSRP-published journals evaluate submissions on the understanding that they have not been previously published in or simultaneously submitted to another journal. We encourage all AJSRP-published journals to investigate allegations of redundant publication thoroughly and in accordance with COPE guidelines. We also encourage editors and journal administrators to keep a clear record of all communications between authors, editors, and peer reviewers regarding the submissions they handle. These records are carefully stored and may be used to facilitate investigations into possible cases of misconduct. Where necessary we will contact and/or co-operate with other publishers and journals to identify cases of redundant publication.
AJSRP journals evaluate submissions on the understanding that they are the original work of the author(s). We expect that references made in a manuscript or article to another person’s work or idea will be credited appropriately. Equally we expect authors to gain all appropriate permissions prior to publication. Guidelines on when permissions are required and how to seek permissions. AJSRP is a signatory of the STM Permissions Guidelines, which may lower any permissions fees.
Re-use of text, data, figures, or images without appropriate acknowledgment or permission is considered plagiarism, as is the paraphrasing of text, concepts, and ideas. All allegations of plagiarism are investigated thoroughly and in accordance with COPE guidelines detailed. Many journals now systematically run submitted papers through plagiarism-detection software to identify possible cases. Journals will typically stipulate how they employ such software – whether systematically or selectively – in their submission guidelines.
Whilst striving to promote freedom of expression wherever possible, AJSRP aims to avoid publishing anything that harms the reputation of an individual, business, groups, or organization unless it can be proven to be true. We take all possible measures to ensure that published work is free of any text that is, or may be considered to be libelous, slanderous, or defamatory.
Conflict of interest
AJSRP is committed to transparency in areas of potential conflict of interest. We encourage our journals, editors and partner societies to publish and regularly review policies on Conflict of Interest as they relate to authors, editors and peer reviewers.
Conflict of interest exists when an author’s private interests might be seen as influencing the objectivity of research or experiment, to the point that a reasonable observer might wonder if the individual’s behavior or judgement was motivated by considerations of his or her competing interests. It is the responsibility of a manuscript’s corresponding author to confirm if co-authors hold any conflict of interest. The corresponding author may be required to co-ordinate completion of written forms from each co-author and submit these to the editor or journal administrator prior to acceptance. The following should also be declared, either through the Acknowledgements section of the manuscript or at the point of submission:
- All sources of research funding, including direct and indirect financial support, supply of equipment, or materials (including specialist statistical or writing assistance).
- The role of the research funder(s) or sponsor(s), if any, in the research design, execution, analysis, interpretation, and reporting.
- Any relevant financial and non-financial interests and relationships that might be considered likely to affect the interpretation of their findings or that editors, reviewers, or readers might reasonably wish to know. These might include, but are not limited to, patent or stock ownership, membership on a company’s board of directors, membership of an advisory board or committee for a company, consultancy for a company, or receipt of speaker’s fees from a company.
When considering whether to declare a conflicting interest or connection we encourage authors to consider how they would answer the following question: Is there any arrangement that would embarrass you or any of your co-authors if it was to emerge after publication and you had not declared it?
AJSRP expects its journal editors to declare competing interests at the point of agreeing their position and update them annually. AJSRP’s standard editor agreement obliges the editor to declare any potential conflict of interest that might arise during the term of editorship prior to entry into any agreement or position.
Editors are required to recuse themselves from individual manuscripts if they themselves have a potential conflict of interest and to avoid creating potential conflicts of interest through assignment of handling editors or peer reviewers.
We encourage editors and journal administrators to consider potential conflicts of interest when assigning reviewers. Some journals include wording in their invitation to review stating that acceptance of the invitation implies no financial or competing interest. Where a reviewer declares potential conflict of interest the editor should select alternative reviewers. Failure to declare conflict of interest may result in removal of the reviewer from the journal database.
Fair editing and peer review
AJSRP encourages all participants in the publishing process to adhere to established principles of ethical publishing. This extends from authors to journal editors, reviewers, journal administrators, and publishing staff.
Editors have full editorial independence. Although AJSRP and any publishing partners may discuss strategy, process, and policy with editors, we will never knowingly exert pressure on editors to accept manuscripts for commercial or political reasons. We do, however, expect and encourage AJSRP-published journals to have clearly defined processes and policies for the handling of contributions by the editor or members of the editorial board to ensure that, where appropriate, these submissions receive an equivalent level of peer review to any other submission.
Peer review and reviewer conduct
AJSRP supports and refers its editors to the COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers. AJSRP does not support one system of peer review over another (e.g. single-blind, double-blind, open) but encourages journals to publish their review procedure as part of their submission guidelines, for instance:
Manuscripts are reviewed by two independent experts in the relevant area. The reviewers make a scientific assessment and a recommendation to the editors. Reviewers remain unknown to authors. The Handling editor considers the manuscript and the reviewers’ comments before making a final decision either to accept, accept with revision or to reject a manuscript.
Unless otherwise specified, AJSRP expects editors and reviewers to handle all submissions in confidence. If a reviewer wishes to delegate the review or seek the opinion of a colleague on a specific aspect of the paper, they are expected to clear this with the editor in the first instance.
Any suggestion that an editor or reviewer is appropriating ideas from a manuscript they handled for a journal will be thoroughly investigated in accordance with the following COPE guidelines.
Peer review fraud
Some journals provide the option for submitting authors to suggest preferred reviewers. It is the responsibility of the lead author to ensure that only genuine reviewers and reviewer contact details are put forward. Any suspected or alleged instances of authors submitting fabricated reviewer details will be thoroughly investigated. If such allegations are proven, the article in question will be immediately rejected or, if already published, retracted. The journal would typically notify the authors’ institutional or local ethics council and may also impose a ban on further submissions from the author group.
Promoting ethical research
It is part of AJSRP’s mission to promote the highest standards of research through its publishing activities. Ensuring that the research we publish is conducted in a fair and ethical manner is integral to this. We publish across multiple research areas, many of which have their own standards and methods of governing research practice.
Wherever appropriate, we expect published research based on human subjects to provide the name of the local ethics committee that approved the study (or confirmation that such approval is not needed) and/or to state how the study conforms to recognized standards (e.g. declaration of Helsinki or US Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects). AJSRP encourages journals and handling editors to return any manuscripts describing studies not meeting acceptable criteria.
The following list details AJSRP’s approach to the most common areas of research integrity.
Journals publishing studies using human subjects should ensure that a patient’s right to privacy has not been infringed without prior consent. We encourage journals to follow the ICMJE guidelines for reporting on human subjects. For publication of material that contains detailed patient information about a living individual, it is compulsory for a signed patient consent to be obtained. Any identifier that might reveal a patient’s identity must be removed (i.e., x-rays, MRIs, charts, photographs, etc.). Written informed consent is required from any potentially identifiable patient or legal representative, and should be presented in either the Methods section or the Acknowledgements.
Where animals are used in research we expect them to have been treated in a humane manner and in line with the ARRIVE guidelines. The International Council for Laboratory Animal Science has published guidelines specifically for editors and Reviewers on how to handle submissions involving animal research. AJSRP supports these guidelines and, wherever possible, encourages editors and society partners to adopt them. Authors may be required to provide evidence that they obtained ethical and /or legal approval prior to conducting the research.
Registering clinical trials
All clinical trials should be registered prospectively in publicly accessible databases (e.g. Clinical Trials and Clinical Trials Register) and manuscripts should include registration numbers and the name of the register. Some journals may require clinical trials to be reported according to CONSORT guidelines.
Falsification and fabrication
Submitted papers found to include false or fabricated data prior to publication will be returned to the author immediately with a request for an explanation. If no explanation is received or if the explanation provided is considered unsatisfactory, the journal will notify the authors’ institution, local ethical committee, or superior. The journal may also refuse to accept further submissions from the author for a defined period.
Examples of data falsification or fabrication include: image manipulation; cropping of gels/images to change context; omission of selected data; or making-up data sets. Some journals employ image manipulation software to detect evidence of falsification in submitted manuscripts. AJSRP recognizes that falsification is not always deliberate and will encourage its journals and publishing partners to consider each case on its terms.
Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement (PEMS)
‘Journals’ of The AJSRP Foundation is a peer-reviewed, scientific journal that follows the ICMJE’s Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals. It is expected of authors, reviewers and editors to follow these best-practice guidelines. Key points of these guidelines are included below, but you should always refer to ICMJE guidelines for full details. Publication ethics and malpractice are divided into;
- Editor’s responsibilities
- Author’s responsibilities
- Reviewer’s responsibilities
- Publisher’s responsibilities
- Editorial independence and fairness:
– Submitted manuscripts are evaluated by editors on academic merit, considering their rationale, originality, validity of findings, focused, concise writing, clarity and relevance to the scope of the journal without any discrimination.
– The Editor-in-Chief is completely and fully responsible and authorized for the publication timing and editorial content of the journal.
Editors and editorial staff are bound not to disclose any information about a submitted manuscript to anyone other than the corresponding author, reviewers, advisers, and the publisher, when required or demanded.
- Conflicts of interest and disclosure
– Authors’ written consent is necessary in case Editors and editorial board members are interested to use information from an unpublished manuscript for their own research.
– Editors having any kind of conflicts of interest (competitive, collaborative, or other connections) with any of the authors, companies or institutions of any submitted manuscript will rescue themselves from the editorial process by disclosing this to chief editor in writing for his final decision.
- Publication decisions
– The editors will ensure peer-review by at least two reviewers (field experts) of submitted manuscripts for publication.
– The Editor-in-Chief is to decide the publication of a manuscript considering the validation of the submitted work, its significance to researchers as well as readers, the reviewers’ comments and suggestions, and current legal requirements.
– The Editor-in-Chief may involve other editors or reviewers in editorial decision making.
- Involvement and cooperation in investigations
– Editors involving publisher and society will respond and take measures whenever ethical concerns are raised on a published paper or submitted manuscript.
– Unethical publishing behavior, whenever reported will be looked into, even if it is discovered years after publication.
– COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics) flowcharts will be followed when dealing with issues of suspected misconduct.
– If ethical concern is proved the a correction, retraction, expression of concern or other note as may be relevant, will be timely published in the journal.
Duties of Reviewers
- Assisting editorial decisions
– Peer reviewers contribute not only in editorial decisions but also assist authors in improving their manuscripts.
– Peer review is an essential part of scholarly communication.
– An invited reviewer, if feels unqualified for the requested review or knows that its prompt review will not be possible must immediately inform editors and decline.
– This prompt action will support editors to invite alternative reviewers.
All manuscripts received for review by reviewers must be treated as confidential documents.
- Standards of objectivity
All reviews should be conducted objectively and comments, observations and suggestions for author and editor must be formulated clearly with supporting arguments.
- Acknowledgement of sources
– Reviewers should point out relevant published work missing in citation by the authors. Any statement that is an observation, argument or derivation, reported in previous publications should be properly cited.
– Any substantial similarity between the manuscript under review and any other published or unpublished manuscript based on reviewer’s personal knowledge must be notified to editors.
- Conflicts of interest and Disclosure
– Any invited referee who has conflicts of interest (competitive, collaborative, or other connections) with any of the authors, companies or institutions mentioned in or connected to the submitted manuscript should be notified and declared to the editors and decline the invitation to review immediately.
– Unpublished material from a submitted manuscript must not be used in a reviewer’s own research without explicit written consent of the authors.
– Information or ideas obtained from peer review are to be kept confidential and not to be used for the reviewer’s personal work and advantage. This is applicable also on the invited reviewers who decline the review request.
Duties of Authors
- Reporting standards
– Authors of original research must give an accurate detail of the research work done with genuine results and an objective discussion of the importance of the work.
– The manuscript should incorporate sufficient detail with references so others can replicate the research work.
– Review articles must be objective, accurate and comprehensive
– Editorial ‘opinion’ or perspective papers should be clearly identified and mentioned.
– Fraudulent or intentional inaccurate statements are part of unethical behavior so are
- Data access and retention
– Authors may be required to submit the raw data of the submitted study manuscript because at times the data needs to be publicly available.
– Authors should ensure accessibility of data for at least 10 years after publication to professionals via an institutional or subject-based data repository or other centers, keeping in view the confidentiality of the participants.
- Plagiarism and Originality
– Authors need to ensure originality of submitted work.
– Use of someone else’s work and/or words need to be appropriately cited and acknowledged.
– Plagiarism includes “passing off” another person’s paper as the author’s own, paraphrasing or copying parts of another person’s paper without acknowledgement and attribution), or claiming results of other papers or researches. Plagiarism in all its forms is
- Multiple, duplicate, redundant or concurrent submission/publication
– Papers describing the same research must not be published in more than one journal. Authors should not submit a published manuscript to another journal for consideration.
– Concurrent submission of a manuscript to more than one journal is highly unethical publishing behavior and unacceptable by the editors.
– In case of clinical guidelines, translations etc, the authors and editors of the concerned journals concerned must agree to this secondary publication, fulfilling the necessary criteria. The primary reference must be cited in the secondary publication.
– Persons who meet ICMJE authorship criteria should be listed as authors in the manuscript because they should be able to take content’s public responsibility: o Have made significant contributions to the conception, designing, execution, data acquisition, or data analysis and interpretation of the research study; o Have participated in the drafting of the manuscript or provided a critical revision for the intellectual content; o Have read and approved the final version of the research paper and agreed to its submission for publication in a specific journal. All other persons who made substantial contributions to the manuscript, such as technical assistance, writing and editing assistance etc, and do not meet the authorship criteria must be acknowledged in the “Acknowledgements” section with their written permission.
– The corresponding author should ensure that all eligible coauthors (as per above mentioned criteria) are included in the author list and he need to verify that all coauthors have read and approved the final version of the manuscript and they agree to its submission for publication.
- Disclosure and conflicts of interest
– Authors should disclose any conflicts of interest that might be influencing the results or their interpretation. Potential conflicts of interest needing disclosure are financial such as honoraria, grants or funding, membership, employment, paid expert testimony, consultancies, stock/ material ownership, or patent-licensing. Non-financial ones includes such as personal or professional relationships, affiliations or beliefs in the subject matter or materials discussed in the manuscript. All financial support sources for research should be properly disclosed including the grant number or other reference.
- Acknowledgement of sources
– Authors must ensure that they have properly and adequately acknowledged the work of others, and should not miss any relevant influential work which determines the nature of the submitted work.
– Information obtained privately should only be used after taking explicit, written permission from the person or source, this may include conversation, discussion or correspondence with any third parties.
- Human or animal subjects hazards
– In use of chemicals, procedures or equipment that have any unusual hazards inherent in their use, then these hazards must be clearly identified in the manuscript.
– In case of work on animals or human participants, the authors must ensure that all processes and procedures were performed in compliance with relevant institutional, national and international laws and guidelines. This could be disclosed by sharing the approval of institutional review committee/ board and add statement to this effect in the manuscript.
– A statement on informed consent for experimentation with human participants must be written clearly in the manuscript.
– The privacy rights of human participants should be observed always.
- Peer review
– Authors are obliged to participate in the peer review process and cooperate fully by responding promptly to editors’ requests for raw data, clarifications, and proof of ethics approval, patient consents and copyright permissions. In the case of a first decision of “revisions necessary”, authors should respond to the reviewers’ comments systematically, point by point, and in a timely manner, revising and re-submitting their manuscript to the journal by the deadline given.
- Fundamental errors in published works
– Whenever authors discover errors or inaccuracies of significance in their own published work, it is their obligation to notify this to the journal’s editors or publisher promptly and cooperate to issue erratum (correct the paper) or to retract the paper.
– If the editors or publisher come to know from a third party about a significant error in the published work, then it is the authors’ obligation to respond promptly and correct or retract the paper or share evidence to the journal editors of the correctness of the paper.
– For guidelines on retracting or correcting articles, please click here: http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/browse/publishing-and-editorial-issues/correctionsand-version-control.html
Duties of the Publisher
- Handling of unethical publishing behavior
– In cases of proven scientific misconduct, plagiarism or fraudulent publication, the publisher will work in close collaboration with the editors and will take all necessary and appropriate measures to clarify the issue and to amend the article.
– This involves the prompt publication of an erratum, a clarification or retraction of the work in question.
• Access to journal content
– The publisher must be responsible and committed to the preservation of scholarly research and ensuring permanent availability and accessibility through digital archive.